Fantastic Fungi U S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The grifola frondosa species is also known as “hen-of-the-woods,” “ram’s head,” and “sheep’s head.” Popular for centuries in Japanese and Chinese cuisine, the maitake generally grows at the base of oak trees. Another form of agaricus bisporus—cremini mushrooms (also known as baby bellas) are just an older version of the button mushroom. Because of their age, they are a bit browner and firmer, which means they’re great for soups and stews as they maintain some texture when cooked. The most common type of mushroom in the U.S., button mushrooms are related to cremini and portabellos; the difference is their age. Think of buttons as the youngsters, cremini as a teenager, and portabellos as an adult.
Specific industries also utilize oyster mushrooms in mycoremediation of polluted areas. As we dig deeper into mushroom species, we will start with the characteristics of edible mushrooms and continue into poisonous species. Another distinguishing factor of mushrooms is that they don’t have chlorophyll. That means they cannot photosynthesize and must get their energy from breaking down organic matter. This process is why mushrooms are called saprophytes, or a fungus that lives on dead and decaying organic matter.
This is why it is strongly suggested that people do not collect and eat wild mushrooms without having an expert with them or being 100% confident in the identification of the fungus. Their pores range in size from tiny to large and are the same size within a species. The spores have to drop down the pore into the air without sticking to the sides.
Fungi generally survive in soil for years and produce fruiting structures only when conditions are favorable, such as after periods of prolonged wet weather. Fungi spend most of their life invisible, buried in their substrate (i.e., food source), which could be a live host like a plant/animal, or dead material/soil. While some make fruit bodies (think mushrooms) annually, others might only do so every few years, and some might never produce anything we can see without a microscope.
Mushrooms, sometimes called toadstools, are the visible reproductive (fruiting) structures of some types of fungi. Although the umbrella-shaped fruiting body is the most common and well known, mushrooms display a great variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some other fruiting bodies encountered in lawns include puffballs, stinkhorns, and bird’s nests, descriptive names that reveal the diversity of forms among mushrooms. But regardless of shape, the purpose of all fruiting bodies is to house and then disseminate spores, the reproductive units of fungi. Fungal fruiting structures release tiny spores that are easily carried on air currents to new sites. When spores reach a favorable place to grow, they germinate and send out long thin filaments called hyphae.
It’s made by a process called guttation, during which the soil surrounding the fungi becomes very wet and is able to force water into the roots of the mushroom through osmosis. This creates enough pressure within the mushroom that the liquid is squeezed out of it. Once mature, they produce microscopic spores, like pollen, that may number in the billions in order to spawn. The tongue mushroom is yet another species that resembles something in nature.